Thursday, October 13th, 2011 at 10:00 am  |  19 responses

Constant Adversity

The story of a kid who never gave up on his dream.

After my amputation I had to continue six more months of chemo. Once my chemo treatments were completed, I then had to learn my new life of being an amputee. I got fitted for my prosthesis and basically had to learn how to walk all over again.

It was a very tough and frustrating process.

My whole goal and drive of getting through cancer was to get back to sports—my love. Putting on my prosthesis for the first time and trying to walk for the first time, it was an eye opener to see just how hard this was going to be.

I couldn’t walk. I had to do months of rehab to get my strength back and learn how to walk without any devices. When I returned to high school (the second semester of my sophomore year) another reality set in: I had lost many friends due to what all I had been through. No one saw me as Scott. I was only known as “that kid who had cancer” or, “the kid with one leg.” I was very isolated in high school, and the only thing that kept me going was sports I was determined to get back to playing.

When basketball season rolled around my junior year, I decided to start basketball offseason. The first practice, I sat on a bench quietly while all the other kids socialized and changed into their basketball gear. I was ashamed and embarrassed to show my leg. When all the kids finally left the locker room, I then changed to my basketball gear. Even after I was changed and ready to practice, I still stayed seated in the locker room; I was scared to show my leg in front of my peers. Coach finally came and talked me into going out on the court. I did not practice, but instead hid behind a table so that my leg couldn’t be seen.

Knowing I wasn’t physically ready to play basketball and still burdened with self-esteem issues from being an amputee, I decided to get out of basketball offseason and enter into baseball offseason. This was where I gained confidence. Baseball is a sport where I could hide my leg in a sense and play a position like pitcher, where it didn’t require me to move around a whole lot. I had some bad games but I had some really good games—meaning that I stacked up nine and 11 strikeouts in a couple games. When baseball and high school were over, I became very depressed and lost because the reality of not playing college sports—something I dreamed about as a kid—was simply not going to happen.

With a burning desire to still be that athlete I always wanted to be, I asked around about amputee sports. I was immediately directed to the Paralympics. I met with a prosthetic company about possibly wanting to train for the Paralympics. Talks escalated quickly and it got to the point where the company signed me to a four-year deal without ever even seeing me run. I was given a free prosthesis, clothing and other perks.

A month into training, I knew this was not in my heart. I gave back the running leg and was honest with them—I let them know that this was not me, it wasn’t in my heart to do this. They were understanding.

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  • V

    Wow. What an inspirational story. Puts things into perspective.

  • T. Brown

    This was an excellent article. This should serve as an inspiration and a lesson to all of us who have been through adversity that me.we should never give up on our dreams. Obstacles are meant to be overcome.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Unlike some of the things SLAM has been putting on the site for a while…..this is worthy AND deserves a prominent place in the great history of SLAM. Nicely done and inspiring. Pleasure to read, Jeremy and Scott.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    That was absolutely great.

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    Definitely worth reading at 1am over here.

  • TL

    Awesome profile. Truly inspiring. Really makes you think: what would you have done?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Wow…didn’t know what this was about at first. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop. What an awesome and inspiring piece.

  • Randy Hammer

    Scott has been very inspirational to me and my family for years. He has taught me lessons in dealing with adversity. To coin a phrase from Scott, “stay true”.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nima Zarrabi

    This was damn good.

  • Megan Hammer

    I love you uncle Scott !

  • Paul Rosenblum

    Never Give up!! Scott and AMP 1 are truly inspirations to every one..Makes me proud to be a basketball player! Y’all ROCK Thank you…

  • Bootsie Hall

    What a true inspiration Scott is! Great story!

  • Alan

    Great story. Fighting to play ball while the best in the world are fighting over money.

  • http://www.amp1basketball.com Brian P Vincent

    Amp 1 Basketball is going to be household name !

  • Sasha Savkovic

    Scott has not only inspired me to work harder but he has also told me to “never give up”. Scott is a great guy with a lot going for him. I just think publicly people should know more.

  • Ryan

    Scott is the one to look up to

  • Ryan Hammer

    I’m proud of you uncle Scott, I believe in you

  • pzl

    More stuff like this please SLAM. This is awesome.

  • Steve Osborn

    Great article! Never give up on dreams as hard as they may be!